Barry banned from pre-season training

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The Independent Online

Aston Villa have disciplined want-away skipper Gareth Barry after he criticised manager Martin O'Neill in a Sunday newspaper interview.

O'Neill has also insisted Villa have not received a new bid from Liverpool for the England midfielder, who will not be present when Villa report back for pre-season training at Bodymoor Heath tomorrow.

Liverpool were linked with a new £15 million offer for 27-year-old Barry but O'Neill said: "There is no truth in this morning's reports and the situation remains the same.

"Gareth will not be returning to training tomorrow and he has been disciplined after giving an unauthorised interview to the News of the World."

A club statement confirmed: "Gareth Barry will not be returning for pre-season training tomorrow."



Barry upset O'Neill by intimitating the Villa boss was more interested in being a TV pundit for the Euro 2008 finals than speaking to him over his future.

He said: "It's seven weeks now since the season finished but while the gaffer found time to be a pundit for the BCC at Euro 2008, he hasn't found time to speak to me.

"The last time we spoke was just after England's game in Trinidad at the start of June - and that's it.

"It just made me think that the gaffer and the club were just saying one thing in public but were not bothered about me at all in private. What other conclusion can you reach?"

Liverpool has so far made bids of around £10million, £12million and £13million for Barry who has been at Villa for 10 seasons but wants to play Champions League football with the Reds.

But O'Neill, despite being resigned to losing Barry, is adamant he will not accept less than £18million.



The former Celtic boss is aware that Manchester United paid £18million for both Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves, and Barry is ahead of both of them in Fabio Capello's England plans.

He is also in no mood to drop his asking price or compromise after being upset by Rafael Benitez's behaviour during the early stages of negotiations in making the possible deal public.

It seems inevitable Barry will eventually get his wish and move to Anfield.

But O'Neill's decision not to involve him in training is a signal of him wanting to press ahead with Villa's preparations for the Intertoto Cup without all the media interest that would surround them if Barry was participating.

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